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FIRST-PERSON: A battle of ‘rights’

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–When does one’s Christianity stop?

The obvious answer is never, since Christians — those who place their faith in Jesus Christ — are to apply that faith to every element of their existence. However, a recent court case places at risk the interminable element of faith.

The case surrounds Dr. Christine Brody, a Christian who is employed by the North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group (NCWMG) in San Diego.

In 1999, a young woman named Guadalupe Benitez, a lesbian who was seeking to become pregnant by artificial means, was referred to visit the clinic by her healthcare provider. Ms. Benitez, after undergoing nearly a year’s worth of infertility treatment at the facility, was reportedly told by Dr. Brody that her Christian faith prevented her from impregnating homosexuals through means of artificial insemination. Dr. Brody subsequently referred Ms. Benitez to an outside physician who would complete the procedure.

It is important to note that this case does not involve a life-and-death instance. Ms. Benitez was seeking an elective procedure.

Nevertheless, displeased by this action, Ms. Benitez sued Dr. Brody and the NCWMG under a California law designed to prevent discrimination by business authorities and healthcare providers.

A San Diego trial court dismissed the lawsuit in 1999, finding it without merit. But Ms. Benitez has appealed that decision through the help of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, claiming that after she was unlawfully “dumped” as a patient because of her homosexuality. She says the experience caused her emotional trauma.

Lambda Legal is a homosexual-rights legal group that uses what it terms “impact litigation” to gain rights for homosexuals. The group has asked the California Court of Appeals in San Diego to overrule the lower court decision and to compensate Ms. Benitez for a procedure that she claims should have been provided by her healthcare plan and the NCWMG.

“Guadalupe’s doctors are entitled to hold any personal religious belief they choose,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior staff attorney in Lambda Legal’s western regional office. “But healthcare providers do not have the right to refuse medically appropriate treatment to a patient based on what they claim are personal religious beliefs about particular groups of people. Healthcare providers are legally and ethically obligated to provide treatment based on a patient’s medical condition, not her identity.”

Under this scenario, Christian doctors would be compelled to provide abortion counseling to young girls; they also would be required to provide abortions even though the Bible teaches that our omnipotent God cares for us even in the womb (Psalm 139:14). Even though Christians believe we are to cherish all life, attorneys at Lambda Legal believe that this belief should be constrained by the law.

Should Ms. Benitez win her case, the beliefs of Christians could be severely restricted, even regulated, in the workplace. Christian beliefs could actually fall under government supervision.

This is a terribly troubling lawsuit. It is evident that individuals who wish to live their lives on the edge will enthusiastically trample on the rights of others in order to safeguard their own sordid preferences.

Please join me in praying that the California Court of Appeals will recognize this case as a reckless and hostile attempt to trounce on the religious rights of this doctor.
Falwell is pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., and chancellor of Liberty University.

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  • Jerry Falwell